Education Notebook: Wylie High has 2 Merit semifinalists; AHS needs $$ for new band trailer

Wylie High School last week announced that two seniors were named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Selected were Connor Brown and Ayden Gertiser.

The week before, the Abilene ISD reported that Abilene High senior Griffin Sullivan was chosen as one of 16,000-plus semifinalists. These students have the chance to become one of 7,250 finalists who will share in $28 million in scholarships in the spring.

The the 68th annual contest is operated as a nonprofit.

Eagle Two needs you, too

Abilene High's marching band has a new equipment trailer, and needs help paying for it.

Last fall, the band's semi, called Eagle One, was involved in a crash. It was totaled by the insurance company, Band Director Dr. Jonathan Kraemer said.

A new rig, dubbed Eagle Two, has been purchased by the Abilene ISD.

Work needs to be done to make it functional for its purpose, Kraemer said. It needs:

  • A ramp installed

  • Build-out of the second level for storage and transport needs

  • Painting

  • Wrapping

The trailer looks to be a retired Allied Moving Vans rig. It is bright orange and nicknamed "The Great Pumpkin." Abilene High's color are black and gold.

The trailer is parked next to the blue trailer used by the Cooper High band.

"Surely we can't be outdone by our southside friends," Kraemer quipped.

These four projects total about $20,000.

The band has joined with Kent Beck Auto on a fund-raising project. A $25,000 gift certificate will be given to one of 500 people who purchase a $100 ticket.

Those wanting to help or get information should contact Kraemer at 325-677-1731, Ext. 1827, or email jonathan.kraemer@abileneisd.org.

Half-million gift going to McMurry's upgraded campus center

The entrance to Garrison Campus Center is closed as the facility is remodeled to add a second floor and become Garrison Student Center. The project coincides with McMurry's 100th anniversary in 2023. An artist's rendition of the new facility can be viewed.
The entrance to Garrison Campus Center is closed as the facility is remodeled to add a second floor and become Garrison Student Center. The project coincides with McMurry's 100th anniversary in 2023. An artist's rendition of the new facility can be viewed.

The Shelton Family Foundation has awarded McMurry University $500,000 for the Shirley L. and Mildred Garrison Student Center project.

The $25 million undertaking is one of the largest in the history of the university, which has begun its 100th anniversary celebration.

The center will have enhanced student gathering areas, an enlarged chapel, a fitness and wellness center, event venues, centralized student support services, campus store and an esports center.

McMurry is raising the remaining $1.8 million needed to match a $3 million anonymous grant received in May.

Those wishing to contribute can give online at give.mcm.edu or contact Josh Poorman by calling (325-793-4763) or emailing him (poorman.josh@mcm.edu).

Work on the new campus center should be completed by fall 2023.

TSTC names new head of EMS, paramedic programs in Abilene, Brownwood

Steven McCaslin has been named to head Texas State Technical College's EMS program.

A former paramedic and a graduate of TSTC's Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic programs, McCaslin returned to TSTC in October 2021 as the program's clinical coordinator.

He will have oversight of programs in Abilene and Brownwood.

“He will be accountable for all aspects of the program, ensuring that the program meets the education standards set by the Department of State Health Services, Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs,” said Ronnie Pitts, statewide director of decision support for TSTC's Health Sciences division.

McCaslin graduated from TSTC in 1987 (EMT) and 1993 (paramedic). He served as a paramedic for 30 years, including Cook Children's Heath Care System in Fort Worth. He also worked for EMS companies, in Cisco, Eastland, Fort Worth and Granbury.

One of the first tasks for McCaslin and the EMS instructors is transitioning the program into the performance-based education format that TSTC is implementing, a news release stated.

“For EMS, the performance-based education module will be a game changer,” McCaslin said. “It will be easier for our paramedic students, who are working 24 hours on and 48 hours off to schedule their skills time in our labs. It will be a win-win for us and the students."

HSU trustees OK plan not to increase tuition for '23-24

The board of trustees at Hardin-Simmons University last week voted not to increase costs for the 2023-24 academic year.

Also, academic scholarships will be increased $2,000 per students for first-time freshmen next year.

"Hardin-Simmons recognizes folks' desire to receive an excellent value in education. Not increasing tuition while increasing scholarship opportunities is one way HSU is working to provide that desired value," said Dr. Jodie McGaughey, vice president of financial aid.

This article originally appeared on Abilene Reporter-News: Education Notebook: WHS has 2 semifinalists; AHS needs $$ for trailer